Why major in Biology?

As a biology major, you’ll gain broad exposure to biology as a discipline to help you enter professional or graduate school, or pursue other science careers. Biology at UPIKE provides a one-of-a-kind experience in a small class-size setting. Most upper-level courses and labs have no more than 20 students enrolled, which will allow you to develop close professional relationships with faculty. If you can dream it, UPIKE can help you develop the tools and skills necessary to achieve it.

Student uses pipette in biology class.

Program Distinctives

UPIKE provides extensive experiential learning opportunities through on- and off-campus research and science internships. You can travel to places like Belize, Arizona and the Gulf Coast, as well as explore interdisciplinary courses such as the Nature of Science or Religion and Science.

Biology, insects

Interesting Courses

We offer courses associated with the basic foundations of life and health such as anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, histology, immunology, molecular biology, neurology and physiology. We also prepare students for careers concerned with the environment through courses such as Animal Behavior, Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Field Methods in Ecology, Ornithology and Vertebrate Zoology.

BIO 300 General Entomology
This course focuses on the fundamentals of insect biology and their relationships with plants and other organisms as well as identification of orders and families of commonly encountered insects. Students develop and curate their own collection through field lab experiences.

BIO 360 Natural History of Belize
This is an experiential learning-based course focused on the natural and cultural history of Belize in which we survey flora and fauna in-country, including birds, crocodiles, monkeys, large charismatic mammals, medicinal and traditional plants, marine ecosystems and coral reefs, and Mayan culture and history. International travel is required.

student bee keepers

Student Learning Outcomes

Most students gain all the requirements necessary to pursue their next endeavor. Upon graduation, UPIKE biology students will be able to understand cells and their functions, cell and DNA replication, structure and function of biologically important molecules, principles of evolutionary processes, relationship between form and function, principles of ecology and other key topics.

Career paths in Biology

Biology is a great major to pursue a medical career. A majority of our biology graduates enter professional schools such as dentistry, medicine and pharmacy as well as physical therapy, physician assistant and doctorate programs. Other biologists work in laboratories, teach or enter other professions. Career paths may include:

Biological Technician
Conservation or Field Biologist
Genetic Counselor
Health Communications Specialist
Health Educator
Nurse Practitioner
Pathology Assistant
Physician Assistant

Where recent graduates have gone to work or study

UPIKE biology graduates pursue graduate school, professional school or a variety of science careers. Biology students have furthered their studies or worked at:

University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry and Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
Appalachian College of Pharmacy
DePaul University College of Law
East Tennessee State University, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy
Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
Pikeville Medical Center
Sherman College of Chiropractic
University of Kentucky
University of Louisville, School of Dentistry and School of Medicine



“Following graduation, I was extremely nervous about applying to graduate programs. My biggest fear was that I was an inadequate candidate, especially as I was applying to Ph.D. programs in biomedical sciences. During my first week of orientation, I quickly realized that not only was I prepared; I was, in fact, feeling equally or more prepared than other first-year students that had undergraduate and or master’s degrees from large state funded schools such as Ohio State. The diversity of courses offered in the biology department at the University of Pikeville has afforded me the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that set me apart from my classmates. The biology program at the University of Pikeville has helped me to develop and hone the necessary skills that will make me successful in my field of study. The faculty of UPIKE’s biology department were, and continue to be, supportive and fundamental in my success in the sciences. They have helped nurture my interests and have been a bedrock resource in the development of my skills as a scientist. I truly cherish my time at UPIKE and now realize the value and level of training I received there from the dedicated faculty, all of which I am eternally grateful for.”



Ella Smith-Justice

Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
(606) 218-5230